EHOVE Mavericks earn spot at intl championships

They started out great and plan to keep going strong.  Following up a good showing at their first competition in Pittsburgh, EHOVE’s Robotics Teams, a.k.a. Mavericks #2252, finished as champions from this past weekend’s FIRST Robotics Buckeye Regional competition at Cleveland State University.  The team competed in the regional FIRST Robotics event.  Each year, a new game is announced by organizers, and the students must plan, design, program and build a robot to play the game.  This year, the game consists of lifting Frisbees and flinging them into goals.  Seems simple, but it takes an incredible amount of skill and work.

At the Buckeye Regional this past weekend, the Mavericks were strong competitors.  In each match until the finals, teams are randomly matched with two other teams in alliances.  Having strong or weak teammates can greatly impact a team’s record.  In the finals, teams with the top records select their alliance teammates.  Because of their strong showing, the Mavericks were picked second out of 24 teams.

In one match, they and their alliance-mates set a record for the most points scored (150) in a match at a regional event.  “We led our alliance through many matches and the finals,” said Engineering Tech student and Robotics Team Captain Brian Evans (Edison HS).  “We had a few issues in Pittsburgh and straightened them out, so we were ready.”

Their win has also earned them a spot to compete at the FIRST Robotics world championships in St. Louis from April 24-27.  Often called “Nationals,” the event is actually an international competition drawing teams who have qualified from across the United States, Israel, Brazil, Singapore, Australia and many other countries.  Only the elite qualify by winning their regional competitions.  This year, about 250 teams will compete for the title.

Evans said hard work and the contributions from the team members were important parts of their success.  He said the team’s programmer, Engineering Tech student Matt Ohlemacher (Norwalk HS), made a big difference in the final results of many of their matches. 

Ohlemacher created and managed the robot’s autonomous mode, where in the first 30 seconds of the competition, the robot is not operated by humans, but instead runs on pre-programmed instructions only.  “The autonomous mode was important because you can go from zero to 30 points in seconds, if you do it right,” said Ohlemacher who credited EHOVE for their success.  He said that the support, equipment and technology at the school are invaluable.

“We’ve worked very hard to get to the point where we’re at, which is compete on an international level,” said Robotics Team Advisor and EHOVE Engineering Tech/Industrial Tech Instructor Jim McIntyre.  “We’re a team to watch out for now.  We’re ranked in the top 5% of teams as number 96 of all 2261 teams.” 

Engineering Tech student and Robotics Team Captain Jenn Feathers (Vermilion HS) said that the team’s hard work from beginning to end really paid off and that alliance partners are vital, making sure to mention teams 639 from Ithaca, New York and 2834 from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. 

FIRST Robotics judges recognized the EHOVE Mavericks by awarding them the Innovation in Control Award (sponsored by Rockwell Automation) and the Industrial Design Award (sponsored by General Motors).  “These are professional engineers that judge these awards,” said McIntyre.

“Both awards said that our robot was the ideal design,” said Evans.  “There were a bunch of great teams.  I’m ecstatic that we were the best at our competition and get to go to the championships.”

The Mavericks are now preparing to attend the championships in St. Louis.  “We’re all excited to go,” said Feathers. 

EHOVE’s team is also the House Team of NASA Plum Brook Station.  This formal arrangement will help NASA accomplish its mission to engage, inspire and support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational outreach activities, while also providing the team with engineering mentors, tools and parts they may need and the ability to cover the cost of registration at FIRST Robotics events. 

One of NASA’s Robotics Alliance Goals is to Inspire American high school students to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Robotics Engineering.  Professionals at NASA Glenn Research Center, Plum Brook Station have been making good on that goal by being involved with EHOVE’s Robotics Team as mentors for the past several years, guiding the students’ journey of building a competitive robot each year for the FIRST Robotics competitions.

Photos and videos of the team and the competition are available at EHOVE’s Facebook page and on the Mavericks' YouTube channel.

A link to watch the championships live online will be available at www.EHOVE.net and at EHOVE’s Facebook page from April 24-27.

EHOVE students and students from surrounding high schools are welcomed to join the EHOVE Robotics Team.  It is not required for team members to be an EHOVE student to join.  For more information, call (419) 499-4663 x0.